Our office provides the best in functional medicine. Our medical team includes a naturopathic medicine doctor, a medical doctor and health coaches. Our doctors have been practicing functional medicine for over 19 years and have helped thousands of patients reclaim their health; we are Naperville Integrated Wellness.
- Do you suspect that your thyroid medication may not be ideal for you?
- Do you feel like your thyroid function is being properly tested and monitored?
- Are you looking for a functional medicine office that can help you with diet, nutrition, lifestyle and your thyroid medication needs?
We have the solutions and expertise you have been looking for.
Are you suffering with
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Hair loss
- Digestion problems
- Fibromyalgia or other muscle aches
- Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles
- High cholesterol and heart disease
The bullet points above are all symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a very common problem today, especially among women. Patients suffering with hypothyroidism usually don’t receive the kind of care they need and deserve.
First of all, many patients are suffering with an autoimmune disease that causes low thyroid function, called Hashimoto’s disease. The root cause of this problem is that the immune system is attacking and destroying the thyroid gland. As this disease progresses, your thyroid is not able to maintain it’s optimum production of hormones and you suffer with low thyroid symptoms. I see patients every day who are suffering with hypothyroidism, have been on medication for years and have NEVER BEEN TESTED for this autoimmune disease.
Most doctor’s don’t bother testing for it…
Because they don’t know what to do about it, other than wait until it destroys enough of your thyroid to the point you
must be put on thyroid medication for the rest of your life.
Other patients suffer with low thyroid function for other reasons than Hashimoto’s disease. It is important to uncover these root causes that are causing your low thyroid function.
Other causes of low thyroid function that are not due to Hashimoto’s disease:
- Poor adrenal gland function(these are your stress glands).
- High inflammation.
- Hormone imbalances(estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and even external sources of hormones like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or birth control.
- Nutrient deficiencies; you require nutrients to make the hormone T4 and then you need nutrients to turn your T4 into T3. You also need optimal levels of progesterone, cortisol and glutathione for your thyroid hormones to work effectively.
- Gut and liver health will also impact your overall thyroid function and hormone balance.
Managing your thyroid health may require the use of medication, but it is important to understand proper testing and the meaning of the test results.
Poor thyroid medication management #1 and #2
#1:The prescribing doctor is obsessed with or more accurately “afraid” of a low TSH. TSH is a factor to consider when prescribing thyroid medication, but it is not everything!
TSH tell your thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormone.
Your pituitary gland is supposed to “sense” the level of thyroid hormone in the body. When thyroid levels go too high, the pituitary makes less TSH and so its level goes down. When thyroid hormone levels drop, the pituitary should make more TSH and levels will raise.
The problem with this system is that the level of thyroid hormone at the pituitary may NOT be the same as in the rest of the body.This is because your pituitary gland has a different deiodinase enzymethan the rest of your body.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
These enzymes convert the T4 produced by your thyroid gland or your T4 medication into T3. You have 3 different types of deiodinase enzymes.
THE ACTIVE FORM OF THYROID HORMONE IS T3…NOT T4.
Technically, T4 is a “prohormone” which means it is a hormone that needs to be turned into the active form of thyroid hormone; T3.
Your 3 different types of deiodinase enzymes:
Type 1/D1: converts T4 into the active form of T3 throughout the body.
Type 2/D2: converts T4 into active form of T3 in your pituitary gland.
Type 3/D3: converts T4 into the inactive form of T3 called rT3 (reverse T3)
Summary: TSH is produced by your pituitary gland; the level of TSH is only a reflection of thyroid hormone and T4-T3 conversion at the pituitary gland…not necessarily the rest of your body!
Reverse T3 (rT3) is a type of T3 that is not active and can block the function of normal / effective T3.
At this point, you now know more about thyroid hormone conversion and function than most doctors! Let me be clear here, I am nottrying to bash doctors who are prescribing thyroid medication; but I believe that if you are going to be responsible for a patient’s medication needs, you should understand what is happening in their body and WHAT THE BLOOD TESTS MEAN!
Here is an excellent question to ask your doctor:
Question:“If my T4/free T4 and T3/freeT3 levels are NOT elevated, what is the danger or concern of having a LOW TSH?”
Answer:there is no known danger or health concern. Using TSH alone as a guide for prescriptions results in many patients not receiving the proper type of medication or dosage. TSH is a piece of the thyroid puzzle; not the only piece.
#2 Failure to monitor the levels of T3 and or fT3 levels
Most doctors are prescribing your thyroid medication based on 2 test: TSH and T4 or maybe fT4 (free T4) and most doctors are prescribing medication in the form of T4.
If you read the section above you can clearly see the problem here.
#1 TSH is only a reflection of pituitary function; not the rest of your body.
#2 T4 is a prohormone and not the active form of thyroid hormone; T3 is.
The 2 most common tests used to monitor thyroid function and medication put too much emphasis on the wrong tests and fail to evaluate the most important hormone in is 3 major states:
- free T3 (fT3)
- reverse T3 (rT3)
See above that D1 creates the T3 for your body and D2 creates T3 for your pituitary gland. Below problems with your body that will DECREASE YOUR D1 activity and lead to hypothyroidism even if your TSH and D2 are normal:
- Weight gain
- High insulin or high blood sugar
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Adrenal gland stress or fatigue
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Poor sleep
- Toxin exposure
I understand this is a lot to think about and hopefully this has provided you with a greater appreciation of the complexity of thyroid function and the use of medications. In many cases doctors are just doing what they are “supposed to do” and “comply with the standard of care.” I’m not here to ruffle anyone’s feathers; I just want to provide the correct information on this topic.
Maybe you need your medication dose adjusted or maybe you need a combination medication to help support your levels of T3. There are several variables to consider beyond medication and optimum thyroid function.
If you are looking for a whole-body and functional approach for your thyroid management, we are here to help you. We offer full functional medicine services to get our body working properly again. If you are looking for a more function-based approach to your thyroid medication management; contact our office for more information.
There is just one more thing I want to remind you of, it is NOT only about your medication, there are other factors that will affect your thyroid function and impact your health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Proper use of medication if one major pieces in the thyroid puzzle and we can help you with that.
I hope you have found value in this information.
I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!
If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com
Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.
This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.